Campus News

Grant funds study of alcohol, prescription drug use by older caregivers

Stacey Kolomer, an assistant professor in UGA’s School of Social Work, has been named a 2005 John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar by the Gerontological Society of America. Kolomer will receive $100,000 over two years to study alcohol and prescription drug use by older caregivers.

The Hartford Faculty Scholars program seeks to enhance the effectiveness of faculty scholars as academic leaders, role models and mentors for future generations of social work professionals working in geriatrics. Kolomer is one of 10 Hartford Faculty Scholars in the nation this year.

Kolomer will use her award to determine the demographic and health characteristics associated with being an older caregiver and abusing alcohol and prescription medications. She also wants to see what interventions can be created to prevent abuse of drugs and alcohol by older caregivers.

“It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to be the primary caregiver for another person,” says Kolomer. “There’s a lot of evidence that caregivers experience physical, mental, emotional, financial and social strain because of their responsibilities, but often the needs of caregivers go unnoticed until a crisis ­occurs.”